Wednesday, March 1, 2017

just do...what?

(Original image via: Vintage Everyday
It’s not yet 10am and already I’ve had quite a morning. I’ve read an article on perimenopause (this is very #GroundhogDay for me), an article on the crooked Minister of Social Development (also a little #GroundhogDayish)  and a piece about how evangelists have been termed “America’s Taliban”. I’ve also read why celebrities wear heels that are too big for them (to be fair, this was more a “look” than a “read”) and last but not least, I’ve increased the zoom to 125% on Word and have had to put my spectacles on.

Sigh. As my mum always says, getting old isn’t for sissies.

She’s right, you know. My mum. But I’d like to add to her statement and say that evidently, getting old is about revealing to you, via elimination, all the things you aren’t destined to become. These revelations are delivered with equal measures of tragedy and hilarity, depending on your hormone cycle.

For those of you who have known since childhood what you wanted to be, good for you. For the rest of us, even as we skirt menopause, life is one long battle to discover what we are meant to “be” one day when we’re grown up.

For example, when I was in high school, I thought (for about 24 hours) about becoming a theatre performer. My oldest sister is fabulous on stage and I hoped it was perhaps a genetic thing that just needed to “kick in” under the right conditions. Accordingly, I decided to audition for the part of Miss Hannigan in Annie. Auditions took place at lunchtime in the team teaching room and we all had to stand in a line, side by side, as the teacher stood facing us. She then asked us, one person at a time, to sing.

As I heard all the other hopeful Miss Hannigans sing, I convinced myself “You can do this”. I assumed that a racing heart and dry mouth was normal – stagefright, you understand – and that these maladies would clear up the minute I was put on the spot, so to speak. The teacher stood in front of me and signalled for me to begin and…nothing. Not a squeak came out of my mouth. It was as though I was lip-syncing to invisible music. I think I feigned a sore throat to try and hide the embarrassment of my non-performance.

Then, if my Standard 4 autobiography is to be believed, I’ve also had aspirations in the past of becoming a “sheep farmer’s wife” and moving onto a farm in the Karoo. For anyone who thinks children’s ambitions aren’t informed by the media, you are wrong. I remember specifically where this “sheep farm in the Karoo” idea came from. There was a Lux advertisement in the 80’s that was endorsed by a model, who may have even been an ex-Miss Something - someone like Vera Johns or Margaret Gardiner. I believe the script went something like this…

Model:        When I decided to move to a sheep farm in the Karoo, everyone said to me “But, Vera, what about your beautiful skin?” But I told them my skin would be fine because I use Lux.

I have no idea what was so appealing about this concept other than I may have thought that by moving onto a sheep farm I stood the possibility of being crowned the next Miss South Africa? To be fair, the model was snuggling a lamb so maybe this was the hook? Anyway, there were obvious flaws with this pipedream. Specifically, I loathe semi-desertious environments and I don’t use Lux.

Furthermore, seems unreasonable dreams and aspirations don’t stop at career choices. An element of improbability has permeated my self-belief regarding leisure activities and sporting challenges too.

Why, it was as recent as college, just after school, when I met someone who did Sky Diving. She did a presentation on it in the hall and by the time she was finished, I’d already had various fantasies about jumping out of aeroplanes and walking around in my red jumpsuit, strutting adrenaline-junkie swag. Again, there were, and still are, a number of issues with this dream: they don’t make jumpsuits with bum room big enough for my body type and, I can’t even look down when I travel in the glass lifts at Cavendish Square, so heaven only knows how I imagined I was going to jump out of an aeroplane.

Of late, my “anything is possible” attitude has me considering a) taking up surfing and/or b) walking the Appalachian trail. I’ve gone so far as to do a ton of “surfing strengthening” exercises at the gym. Mr Chilled, in a way that only he can, recently implied that sooner or later I would have to graduate from the gym and actually get into the water. Teenage smartarse. I’m sure he just wants to film me getting into my wetsuit so he can post it on “Fail Army”.

As for the Appalachian trail – as with any trail really – the problem is… I don’t see anyone walking in leggings. They all seem to wear those beige chino-type hiking pants and, unless you have a serious thigh gap, leggings of some sort are essential for walking and running. In fact, regardless of having a thigh gap or not, I have no idea how people do any kind of exercise in pants that don’t stretch. The very thought of wearing stiff pants (or, as BK calls them, pants that “work against you”) makes me want to throw in the towel before I’ve even started.

Still. There’s no need to give up entirely on my dreams. My Standard 4 autobiography also stated that I’d like to become an airhostess. I think it’s fair to say I’m already reasonably qualified for this role in that my kids have helped me hone my “you-just-sit-there-while-I-wait-on-you” skills. All I need to work out is how to walk in a pencil skirt and court shoes.

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